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Creative. Decisive. Ethical.

Areas of Practice

Areas of Practice

Creative. Decisive. Ethical.

A Client-Focused, Highly Experienced and Effective, Federal Criminal Defense Law Firm Specializing in Federal Matters Locally and Nationally for Over 30 Years

  • Complex White Collar Federal Criminal Defense1435894769
  • Complex Mortgage & Bank Fraud Investigations
  • Complex Federal Drug Conspiracies 
  • Federal Appeals & Habeas Corpus Litigation
  • Prosecutorial & Law Enforcement Misconduct
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel & Lawyer Malfeasance
  • Federal Corporate Compliance & Criminal Risk Assessment
  • Select Federal and State Civil Litigation & Other Federal Matters

Ezekiel E. Cortez is a Board Certified Federal Criminal Law Specialist certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

As a career federal criminal defense attorney, Mr. Cortez has devoted himself to the defense of those under pre-indictment investigation and those under indictment by the Federal Government.  Mr. Cortez is committed to the underdog, the persecuted, the voiceless, and the outnumbered in federal court.  He began his career as a federal criminal defense lawyer in 1983 at the then nationally preeminent Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., vigorously defending people who could not afford to hire a lawyer.

As a highly experienced defender of constitutional rights, Mr. Cortez also handles post-conviction Habeas Corpus litigation of unique cases involving a variety of legal defects, including prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, lawyer malfeasance, and other constitutional violations.  Due to his creative and vigorous commitment to criminal defense, Mr. Cortez is often the attorney to whom clients turn when they believe they have run out of options.

Mr. Cortez also handles select federal civil matters.  In addition, he serves as a consultant on case strategy in federal criminal matters and select civil matters in both state and federal courts.

Mr. Cortez’s legal ability and ethical conduct have been rated as AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.  For decades, Mr. Cortez has also been recognized by The Best Lawyers In America — the preeminent standard of excellence for the legal profession.  He has been listed annually in San Diego Magazine’s “Best Lawyers In San Diego” since 2001, as one of only a handful of elite criminal defense lawyers once described by the magazine as the type of lawyer that other “attorneys would go to if they needed a [federal criminal defense] lawyer.”

Mr. Cortez has also been selected by Super Lawyers continuously since 2007 in the White Collar and Corporate Counsel categories and described there as one of the “Seriously Outstanding Top 5%” in his field.  The prestigious, national, yearly survey of the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms has selected Mr. Cortez’s law firm for this distinguished honor since 2010, including the 2015 Edition.

As an ambassador for his profession, Mr. Cortez was twice awarded Fulbright Scholarships in 2004 and in 2005 by the U.S. State Department to teach the American system of adversarial jury trial techniques to Chilean defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges at the University of Concepción, in Concepción, and also in Temuco, Chile.  Mr. Cortez has taught Criminal Justice Administration at San Diego State University and at Moscow University (MGU) in Moscow, Russia.  He has also taught trial skills and techniques as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law and California Western School of Law, and has taught advanced trial techniques to experienced trial lawyers for CACJ, NACDL, and various trial institutes.